Bulls lose a coach


Dec 30

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors.

The Bulls lost a coach Tuesday.

No, not that one!

Ron Adams, who was a Bulls assistant for five years before scouting and doing front office work this season, left to join the staff of interim coach Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City. Adams had been bumped from the bench when new coach Vinny Del Negro opted for veteran assistants Del Harris and Bernie Bickerstaff, but always intended to return to coaching. He joins their staff Wednesday against the Warriors.

“Ron is a good coach and a good teacher,” said former Bulls coach Scott Skiles. “He worked with our big guys, but I wouldn’t classify Ron one way or the other (offensive or defense). He just is a good coach, a good teacher a hard worker, knowledgeable about the game and the league.”

Skiles filled his staff while Adams still was in the Bulls coaching picture, so Skiles brought with him to Milwaukee former Bulls assistant and interim head coach Jim Boylan.

Adams has coached in the NBA for 17 seasons with the Bulls, Bucks, Spurs and 76ers after being a head coach at Fresno State and Fresno Pacific and served on several collegiate staffs, including UNLV.

Though being an assistant is often an anonymous job with more hours than many believe, Adams was thrust into the public eye last year when it was he whom Joakim Noah yelled at in practice, causing Noah’s infamous suspension which his teammates asked be extended.

The irony is Adams had made Noah a personal project and had worked quite a bit with Noah, even having Christmas dinner with Noah and his mother. When that was mentioned at the time, the worldly Adams, who has also coached in Belgium and Japan, joked he just wanted to meet Noah’s mom, a former Miss Sweden.

And perhaps it is just coincidence, but Noah was on an upward arc working with Adams last season, but has regressed badly this season.

Noah averaged five points and 4.7 rebounds before the All Star break last season and 8.9 points and seven rebounds after the break. Noah’s scoring averages increased last season every month but one as he closed the season averaging 10.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in April.

His scoring was 3.2 in November, 4.6 in December, 6.6 in January, 5.5 in February, 9.1 in March and 10.6 in April. Noah also averaged a season best 7.9 rebounds in March and then 6.8 in April. His steals, blocks and assists also were on an upward track almost every month and finished with season bests last April of 1.7 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.6 steals. Noah had five of his eight double/doubles after the All Star break, including 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks against the Cavs April 11, 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks against the Bucks March 29 and 13 points and 20 rebounds against the Cavs March 6.

Noah scored in double figures in 10 of the Bulls’ last 14 games of last season after scoring in double figures in nine of the team’s first 52 games until the All Star break.

But this season Noah has scored in double figures just once and has totaled double figures in rebounds twice in the team’s 31 games. His point and rebound averages for each month are higher than only his first two months of his rookie season.

The relocated-from-Seattle Thunder have four seven footers on their roster with the Nets not matching the offer for Nenad Krstic. He will join Robert Swift, Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene. Yes, Adams has his work ahead. We wish him the best.

Meanwhile, there’s continued speculation of Kirk Hinrich’s return sooner than the expected February timing. The team isn’t saying much because you never know with serious injuries and it still is contingent on what the doctors say. No matter what Hinrich says, when you guarantee someone’s salary for three more years after this, you better be sure. You can be sure after Grant Hill the Magic isn’t letting players come back so quickly.

Hinrich has been telling teammates since he had his wrap taken off his thumb Dec. 16 that he was three weeks or so from coming back. In fact, in our blog here writing about the loss in Boston the only good news I could come up with was Hinrich was talking about feeling that he was maybe some three weeks from a return then.

But if Hinrich can return, say, by the third week of January that would put him in excellent position…to be traded.

Maybe he doesn’t want to come back after all.

The thinking at the time of his freak thumb injury was Hinrich might be out until the All Star break. So it wasn’t like he’d be on the table for any deals despite several teams having expressed interest since the draft lottery because Hinrich plays point guard. But now that could open a whole range of possibilities for the Bulls with a player who would be valuable to a good team missing a guard since Hinrich is considered a good defender and can play shooting guard as well. Of course, it’s not like the Bulls couldn’t use him about now with Lindsey Hunter not seemingly able to adequately provide enough relief minutes for Derrick Rose.

Rose could use some rest as that so called rookie wall approaches with the team over 30 games now, and the Bulls could use some more of the perimeter defense that Hinrich can provide.

Hunter is on a non guaranteed deal and players on teams as of Jan. 10 have their deals guaranteed for the rest of the season.

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